May 2nd, 2007

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Good Morning!!



I am thrilled to wake to the sound of rain and two kitties, now cats, asleep on my feet.  I wake perky, and Bella gets up with me, but Tiger prefers to sleep with Steve and moves over to his feet.   Bella and I think it is the perfect morning to be up early.  I feel well-rested.   Well, yes, you might say.  I had quite a bit of well-needed sleep.

I have a rose here that is enormous.  Since it is a Peace rose, I am hoping it is an omen of what is coming.  There are peace marches all over the bay area tonight.  I'll see if I make it to one.  I have quite a bit to do, but my rose is a reminder of what can be.  It is an explosion of huge petals in pale yellow.  I have a soft, ruffled sun scenting my space. 

Mitchell Louis is home now after months in the hospital, and his parents posted this in thanks to all the help and gifts they have received. 

Galatians 6:9
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

 

 I read these words of Albert Camus, and resolve to live today full embraced in the "implacable grandeur of this life.

 

 
"If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life, as in hoping for another life, and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life."


I have been reading Sue Monk Kidd's book When the Heart Waits.  It is about relaxing into waiting and is filled with wonderful quotes and advice.  Her grandfather used to fish without bait.  He said, "Well, sometimes it's not the fish I'm after.  It's the fishing."   I understand.

May today open in space and may you be aware of your back and ask a friend to paint it for you in whatever color you choose.  I am choosing pink.

Yesterday I realized it is very odd that some of us have cars where we pre-set the seat location.  I notice that I change, and a pre-set does not suit me.  Some days I am sitting straight and others more curved, and perhaps it is important to adjust the seat and mirrors each time we get in the car and not assume that each day we are the same because we are not.   Notice your spine and how it lengthens, straightens, and curls.  Happy Day!


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Peace rose -

As I inhale the wondrous scent of this rose, I wonder if each of us can allow our full explosion of growth.  This rose is not shy.  It takes more space than any rose I've ever seen.  My roses are going crazy outside, and as soon as it is light, I will bring a few wet friends inside to share my desk with me.
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Book Reviews!

There is an article in the NY Times on how book reviews in print newspapers are disappearing.   Blogs are taking their place, but they are not the same.  Here is one blog mentioned that I just checked out.  He comments on the newspaper article since he was in it.

                    http://emergingwriters.typepad.com/

This is from the article in the NY Times today, as written by Motoko Rich.

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, meanwhile, has recently eliminated the job of its book editor, leading many fans to worry that book coverage will soon be provided mostly by wire services and reprints from national papers.

    The decision in Atlanta — in which book reviews will now be overseen by one editor responsible for virtually all arts coverage — comes after a string of changes at book reviews across the country. The Los Angeles Times recently merged its once stand-alone book review into a new section combining the review with the paper’s Sunday opinion pages, effectively cutting the number of pages devoted to books to 10 from 12. Last year The San Francisco Chronicle’s book review went from six pages to four. All across the country, newspapers are cutting book sections or running more reprints of reviews from wire services or larger papers.

    To some authors and critics, these moves amount to yet one more nail in the coffin of literary culture. But some publishers and literary bloggers — not surprisingly — see it as an inevitable transition toward a new, more democratic literary landscape where anyone can comment on books. In recent years, dozens of sites, including Bookslut.com, The Elegant Variation (marksarvas.blogs.com/elegvar/), maudnewton .com, Beatrice.com and the Syntax of Things (syntaxofthings.typepad.com), have been offering a mix of book news, debates, interviews and reviews, often on subjects not generally covered by newspaper book sections.

    For those who are used to the old way, it’s a tough evolution. “Like anything new, it’s difficult for authors and agents to understand when we say, ‘I’m sorry, you’re not going to be in The New York Times or The Chicago Tribune, but you are going to be at curledup.com,’ ” said Trish Todd, publisher of Touchstone Fireside, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. “But we think that’s the wave of the future.”

    Obviously, the changes at newspaper book reviews reflect the broader challenges faced by newspapers in general, as advertisement revenues decline, and readers decamp to the Internet. But some writers (and readers) question whether economics should be the only driving factor. Newspapers like The Atlanta Journal-Constitution could run book reviews “as a public service, and the fact of the matter is that they are unwilling to,” said Richard Ford, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning novelist.

    “I think the reviewing function as it is thoroughly taken up by newspapers is vital,” he continued, “in the same way that literature itself is vital.”

    Mr. Ford is one of more than 120 writers who have signed a petition to save the job of Teresa Weaver, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s book editor. The petition, sponsored by the National Book Critics Circle, comes as part of the organization’s effort to save imperiled book coverage generally. “We will continue to use freelancers, established news services and our staff to provide stories about books of interest to our readers and the local literary community,” said Mary Dugenske, a spokeswoman for the newspaper, in an e-mail message.


I think it is very sad to lose book reviewers in newspapers.  There are plenty of columnists covering sports and that is great.  Why would it be any different, then, for books.  There are a tremendous number of books published each year, and for many, they are a wonderful sport for the eyes and heartl.

 

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NY Times editorial today -

Editorial

Spying on Americans


Published: May 2, 2007

For more than five years, President Bush authorized government spying on phone calls and e-mail to and from the United States without warrants. He rejected offers from Congress to update the electronic eavesdropping law, and stonewalled every attempt to investigate his spying program.

Suddenly, Mr. Bush is in a hurry. He has submitted a bill that would enact enormous, and enormously dangerous, changes to the 1978 law on eavesdropping. It would undermine the fundamental constitutional principle — over which there can be no negotiation or compromise — that the government must seek an individual warrant before spying on an American or someone living here legally.

To heighten the false urgency, the Bush administration will present this issue, as it has before, as a choice between catching terrorists before they act or blinding the intelligence agencies. But the administration has never offered evidence that the 1978 law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, hampered intelligence gathering after the 9/11 attacks. Mr. Bush simply said the law did not apply to him.

The director of national intelligence, Michael McConnell, said yesterday that the evidence of what is wrong with FISA was too secret to share with all Americans. That’s an all-too-familiar dodge. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, who is familiar with the president’s spying program, has said that it could have been conducted legally. She even offered some sensible changes for FISA, but the administration and the Republican majority in the last Congress buried her bill.

Mr. Bush’s motivations for submitting this bill now seem obvious. The courts have rejected his claim that 9/11 gave him virtually unchecked powers, and he faces a Democratic majority in Congress that is willing to exercise its oversight responsibilities. That, presumably, is why his bill grants immunity to telecommunications companies that cooperated in five years of illegal eavesdropping. It also strips the power to hear claims against the spying program from all courts except the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which meets in secret.

According to the administration, the bill contains “long overdue” FISA modifications to account for changes in technology. The only example it offered was that an e-mail sent from one foreign country to another that happened to go through a computer in the United States might otherwise be missed. But Senator Feinstein had already included this fix in the bill Mr. Bush rejected.

Moreover, FISA has been updated dozens of times in the last 29 years. In 2000, Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, who ran the National Security Agency then, said it “does not require amendment to accommodate new communications technologies.” And since 9/11, FISA has had six major amendments.

The measure would not update FISA; it would gut it. It would allow the government to collect vast amounts of data at will from American citizens’ e-mail and phone calls. The Center for National Security Studies said it might even be read to permit video surveillance without a warrant.

This is a dishonest measure, dishonestly presented, and Congress should reject it. Before making any new laws, Congress has to get to the truth about Mr. Bush’s spying program. (When asked at a Senate hearing yesterday if Mr. Bush still claims to have the power to ignore FISA when he thinks it is necessary, Mr. McConnell refused to answer.)

With clear answers — rather than fearmongering and stonewalling — there can finally be a real debate about amending FISA. It’s not clear whether that can happen under this president. Mr. Bush long ago lost all credibility in the area where this law lies: at the fulcrum of the balance between national security and civil liberties.